Why It’s a Mistake For Brands to Ignore Tumblr

Pretend I’m someone who understands the basics of the Internet but has never used a social platform. Now let me ask you: What’s Facebook? What’s Twitter? What’s Instagram?

Most answers, at least from the readers of this blog, would be similar. But I’ve got another question. What’s Tumblr? I would bet that at this point the definitions start to differ. 

“It’s a blogging platform, like WordPress or Typepad.”

“It’s a social network where people share all sorts of content.”

“It’s a website for theme-based GIF repositories.”

For the record, Tumblr defines itself as a platform that “lets you effortlessly share anything” including “text, photos, quotes, links, music and videos.” But the six-year-old content platform is still commonly misunderstood by brands and agencies as it relates to social strategy. Even its self-definition fails to clearly define its focus, its user base or its potential as a place to engage with fans through organic and paid media.

Should your brand be on Tumblr? Let’s discuss.


6 TV Ads That Will Grip You With Their Story

Television advertising has traditionally been seen as an interruptive yet creative means of exposing audiences to a brand. There’s no denying the massive audience that television commands, not only in the United States and the UK but around the world, but it’s been said that audiences hate advertisements so much that they created technologies for avoiding them.

Many households have “pulled the plug” on television altogether, opting for on-demand television viewing with Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, iTunes, Roku, HBOGo and many more alternative services. Add to that the Nielsen Global Survey revealing the decline in consumer trust of ads on television (from 62 percent in 2009 to 47 percent in 2012) and one would have to wonder how television advertising can or will stay relevant in the post-advertising age.

The answer? Storytelling.


When is Manipulation in Advertising Okay?

Manipulation: the action of controlling someone in a clever or unscrupulous way.

It’s a touchy subject, but arguably advertising in its purest form is manipulation. Campaigns want to change behaviour or elicit a response. You can’t argue with that. 

But we’re not in the business of manipulation, are we? We’re in the business of moving and compelling people to engage with, share and advocate a brand or product.

We’re in the business of storytelling.

Meet documentary maker Ken Burns—a master of manipulation through the medium of storytelling. He’s the man behind titles such as The Civil War and Baseball. He argues a good point and one that has inspired this blog post.

Manipulation is present in every story whether we like it or not.


Why Streaming Services Could Upend Cable TV’s Content Model

Cancellation is almost always a death sentence for a television show. Some are revived decades later, like the 80’s soap opera Dallas, which was reborn with a handful of original cast members this past June, but most live in our hearts, minds, and in DVD box sets.

Arrested Development, which was cancelled in 2006, has cheated death. In a brilliant and telling move, Netflix, an on-demand and streaming media provider, has breathed new life in the show by signing it on for a new season to air exclusively on the company’s service. With a subscription, Arrested Development fans will be able to watch the entire new fourth season (ten episodes), which will be released all at once in 2013. Netflix also offers the first three seasons for those who can’t get enough of the Bluth family—a smart move to hook old fans again, by revisiting their favorite episodes.

This unprecedented move gives us a glimpse into what the future of television programming might hold. Are we at a place where consumers can escape the iron fist of cable and satellite TV providers and watch what they want, when they want, for a fraction of the cost? We’ve already peeked into the future of automobile advertising. What’s in store for our entertainment needs? Will on-demand and streaming services beat out the old guard of cable and satellite?


5 Ways Online Communities Drive Offline Behavior

Online social media is essential for any business hoping to gain favor among today’s consumers. An active Facebook page can mean the difference between serious buzz and being ignored. But for all their amazing qualities, do online communities really drive offline behavior? We say yes. There are plenty of innovative techniques for pushing consumers to act outside the digital sphere and providing results. Here are five of our favorite examples, pulled from a variety of areas.


Would You Watch This New Fall TV Show? Please??

Mysterious expression. Well-coiffed hair. Piercing, Photoshop-blue eyes. Just who is this “gifted man,” and do we even want his gifts? The poster for this new CBS series may be thought-provoking, but it doesn’t tell us anything about the show. Instead of using this real estate to engage consumers with actual content, mysterious billboards like this one leave the premise up to the imagination of viewers. Sure, it’s meant to intrigue, not to inform. But is that wise?

Game of Thrones - Stark Family Crest

HBO’s Brilliant Sensory Marketing for “Game of Thrones”

Debuting a new television series is hard enough. But when the new show requires viewers to familiarize themselves with a mythical land, dozens upon dozens of characters, intricate maps, and confusing power struggles, it's a steep marketing hill to climb. HBO's Game of Thrones, which premiered last Sunday, is such a show in that it asks viewers to embrace the complex world of Westeros. The biggest challenge? Getting potential fans up to speed. Instead of relying on the usual advertising conventions of television commercials, print ads, and billboards, HBO thought outside — and inside — the box.

We’ve Elected the Demon Sheep and Aqua Buddhas

Now that the mid-term elections are over, at least we can be glad about one thing: we get a break from the incessant political advertising. As usual, the ugly spots have been plaguing airwaves with negativity, nastiness, and ludicrousness. A January Supreme Court ruling lifted spending restrictions on political ads, and what did we get? The most expensive elections in US history (a record $3 billion dropped by candidates and supporters). Seems like a lot of money for demon sheep and aqua Buddhas.

Multiple Audiences of One

Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter, FriendFeed and the other mega-social media channels have broken 50 years of viewing habits but have not changed the fundamental reason why people "tune-in". Although the computer was designed as a time-saving device, it has become a time-wasting device, just like TV has always been.